A turbulent election season that tested President Donald Trump’s political style against the angry Democratic resistance comes to a close as Americans cast ballots in the first national election of the Trump era.
With voters going to the polls Tuesday, nothing is certain.
Republicans expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away. Trump, the GOP’s chief messenger, warned that significant Democratic victories would trigger devastating consequences.
“If the radical Democrats take power they will take a wrecking ball to our economy and our future,” Trump declared in Cleveland, using the same heated rhetoric that has defined much of his presidency. He added: “The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare.”
Democrats, who are hoping to take back at least one chamber of Congress, predicted victories that would break up the GOP’s monopoly in Washington and state governments.
Liberal leaders have promised to derail Trump’s legislative agenda for the next two years if they won control of the House or the Senate.
Democrats’ fate depends upon a delicate coalition of infrequent voters — particularly young people and minorities — who traditionally shun midterm elections.
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Tuesday’s results will be colored by the dramatically different landscapes in the fight for the House and Senate.
Trump, his shadow hanging over midterm elections that will determine the future of his administration, used his final pitch to ask voters to help preserve “fragile” GOP victories that could be erased by Democratic gains in Congress.
“The contrast in this election could not be more clear. Democrats produce mobs,” Trump said at his final rally Monday night in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “That’s what’s happened. Republicans produce jobs.”
“I do eventually want to unite,” Trump said in Fort Wayne, Indiana, “but I’m driving them crazy.”
Whatever the outcome, Trump made clear he knew his political future could be on the line.
“In a sense, I am on the ticket,” he told a raucous crowd in Cleveland.
He warned supporters on the telephone town hall to get out and vote because “the press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement.”
Trump’s midterm efforts will not stop with his Missouri rally on Monday night. He plans to spend Election Day encouraging voters to get to the polls from the White House.
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Given Trump’s stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz explained that he feels “less comfortable making a prediction today than I have in two decades.”.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.